A new kind of stable
By Rubini Naidu

Yana Dyukareva, 38 (right), moved from Ukraine to work with horses at Hunterton Farm in Paris. When the war started in Ukraine, Yana wanted to fight as a soldier. Steve Stewart, an owner of Hunterton Farm, offered Yana a different option – to bring her mother to live with her in Paris. "[He] said for me to think about my mom – that she'll be happy if I'm in a safe space and not die." Yana and her mother, Inna Dyukareva, 58 (left), share a bedroom in Hunterton Farm housing.

When the war in Ukraine started in February 2021, Yana Dyukareva, 38, considered leaving Paris to fight as a soldier for her home country.

Russian troops invaded and occupied Yana’s hometown, where Yana’s parents and loved ones lived. “If I have to die, that’s fine. But I do the right thing,” Yana says. While working on the picturesque farms, her mind and thoughts were with her parents, who were navigating unfolding chaos and crisis.

Yana worked in Paris for just over a year at Hunterton Farm, known for breeding some of the nation’s top Standardbred horses. Steve and Cindy Stewart, owners of Hunterton Farm, offered support for Yana to attempt to bring her parents from Ukraine to live with Yana in the Hunterton Farm’s housing.

Her mother, Inna Dyukareva, 58, moved to Paris soon after. But Yana’s father was unable to do the same because of Ukraine’s travel ban prohibiting men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country during the war.

Before immigrating to the United States, Yana had worked as a horse rider, jumper, and groomer, traveling across Europe for nearly 20 years. Inna worked as a music teacher for more than 30 years in Ukraine.

The Dyukareva women remain dynamic and joyful people despite their traumas. Yana is now pivoting her career path towards acting and modeling, a dream that she started training for in Ukraine before arriving in the United States. She and her mother plan to move to Los Angeles soon to build a new life together.

“I just hope my life can be more stable,” Yana says. “I dream about having a family, kids, another life that’s not just horses. Something to make me happy.”

"I hope it will make me happy," Yana says as she describes what she envisions for her move to Los Angeles. Yana is eager to build her life on her terms in a way that no longer revolves around horses.

Zhanna Lykhachava, (left) and Yana take a break during their morning shift after they bathe, groom, and feed the horses.

Yana walks a horse out of the barn and into an open field for the day. She and other employees of Henderson Farm do this daily to help keep the horses healthy and active before they are sold.

Life has consisted of many changes for Yana. She plans to leave her job at Hunterton Farm to start a new career in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Yana and Inna have left behind their homes and lives in Ukraine. All they know they have now is what is in their bedroom in Paris. With hope, Yana says, "I want to show my future husband around Ukraine because it's a really nice country."

From cleaning horse stables, feeding horses, bathing and grooming them, and taking the horses in and out for the day, caring for young horses requires working around the clock. In between her shifts, Yana rests.

Dominika Voborska (left) is one of Yana's four original roommates. The women are all from Europe, living and working at Hunterton Farm under an H4A visa. They are now joined by Yana's mother.

Yana and Inna both share music as a passion. They own a guitar and keyboard in Paris.

For the last five years, Yana has been dreaming of a career in the entertainment industry. "Here I am. Watch me," Yana says.